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Rationality and Epistemic Paradox

Frederick Kroon
Synthese
Vol. 94, No. 3 (Mar., 1993), pp. 377-408
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117753
Page Count: 32
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Rationality and Epistemic Paradox
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Abstract

This paper provides a new solution to the epistemic paradox of 'belief-instability', a problem of rational choice which has recently received considerable attention (versions of the problem have been discussed by -- among others -- Tyler Burge, Earl Conee, and Roy Sorensen). The problem involves an ideally rational agent who has good reason to believe the truth of something of the form:$[\text{A}_{\text{p}}]$ p if and only if it is not the case that I accept or believe p. Belief in the latter claim, so the problem runs, must render the agent unable to come to a stable, rationally defensible decision about whether to accept p itself, since each decision can in the event clearly be seen to be unwise. The solution defended in the present paper suggests that in its most serious form the problem beguilingly -- but erroneously -- assumes that rational agents are always allowed to assume their own rationality when deciding how they should choose.

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